To Autumn, A Wonderful Season
Smile for a Saturday
There is a lot going on in the news, and we will continue to cover it regularly on Steady. But we wanted to remain true today to our regular Smile for a Saturday feature. The idea is that we must find ways, amidst sadness, anxiety, and anger, to cling to some of the beauty and happiness of life.
Our eyes this week are on the season. In the days ahead many of us will gather for a tentative resumption of normality around a very special day, one where we celebrate the community of family and friends with gratitude and hope. Thanksgiving should be a day for, yes, prodigious amounts of food and maybe some football, but also reflection, on Earth's fragile bounty and the need to help others. It is also an occasion to celebrate the wonders of autumn.
In our newsletter today, we hope to honor this time of year in three ways. Perhaps, think of this as our own little feast - for the ears, the mind, and the eyes.
In capturing a season in sound, one can’t help but think of Vivaldi’s cherished composition The Four Seasons. Here we found a stirring performance of Autumn by Voices of Music, an ensemble that is committed to the wonders of renaissance and baroque music. Listening to this inspiring rendition brings the stories of harvest dances and a hunt through an autumnal wood to life. We think you’ll be moved by their artistry.
We next turn poetry. Many have captured the season in verse; and one particularly evocative example is To Autumn, by John Keats:
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
And finally, if you have scrolled down this far, we wanted to leave you (no pun intended) with another piece of visual art that bookends the one at the top of today’s newsletter- a pair of images rendered with paint and brush, from the mind and heart of Georgia O’Keefe.
Thank you for your support and being part of this community. Steady.